Monday, October 29, 2007


The Corporate Ladder, The Holy Mountain, The Journey. I wanted to do a piece that encapsulated these themes. For me the image came in form of the step ladder. It was a great prop for street theatre. It was transportable and could be set up easily any where. I chose 4 different heights of ladders. An 8-foot, 6-foot, 4-foot and and 2-foot ladder. 4 performers traversed theses ladders in various different manners and configurations. A rogue character systematically traveled between them delivering an endless amount of junk mail, which he pulled from a briefcase and stuffed into the pockets of the ladder performers. The soundtrack: an adult contemporary musician by the name of Michael Bolton. Bolton's music, which is designed for the very median of the general music listening public, and which can easily be piped through supermarket speakers and office waiting rooms alike, offers feel-good tunes that both inspire and motivate the listener on a subliminal level. Truly a businessman's chosen soundtrack to make it through the work-day. Bolton's records may come second only to Huey Lewis and the News, which is reserved strictly for weekend listening.

I took the backseat on this performance, observing it from the director's point of view. It was a completely different experience. I felt as though it was much less of a transformative process than performing. I felt my self yearning to be part of the action. I possessed neither the innocence or element of surprise that other spectators had, so it was hard to process the images without bias. In fact, I didn't really know what to think about what i saw. I wasn't concerned about the content of the performance. I was paying more attention to the technical details (e.g., the performers' movements, the compostion, timing, tempo, duration, and spectators' responses). I thought I might be able to see the performance as a spectator, but I was mistaken. A director has a completely different view of things. This was the first performance I have directed that I haven't also performed in, so I have never had the chance to experience watching a performance solely as a director. I'm not sure what, if anything, I got out of this experience. As an actor I most always gain some sort of insight through the performance of a piece, but this didn't happen onbserving it just as director. Perhaps i need allow more time for the experience to resonate in my mind.

Any now here are some stills.

On A Forward Note:

I think the next piece will be the last featuring these characters. I feel as though I'm growing bored of them. The next performance titled, GARBAGE, will be my attempt at throwing these characters in the trash and laying them to rest.

Monday, October 15, 2007


Last Thursday downtown Olympia was the stage for the first in the series of public performances created for this fall. The piece was titled MILKMEN, and it featured the same characters from the past two performances. Set in a slightly different situation, the characters spoke for the first time. The words they spoke however, were not a dialog, but framents of inter-related phrases. I wanted to use words as objects, rather than a tool for communication. My hope was to create word objects that would fall deft upon the ear of the spectator, and would have to be obsorbed into the spectator through a different sensory reciever. Each performer was assigned a part of a phrase, for example, "that's interesting, let me tell you a story about when my wife.." The only word that changed in this speech was the subject (wife, children, son, daughter, the baby). The phrases were spoken at random, sometimes sparse and sometimes overlapping into a cacophany of 'businessman babel.' As for the movement; instead of the sporadic exaggerated movents used in the past events, the characters moved in machanical unsion. They marched very slowly in-line in no particular path around the downtown sidwalks, alley-ways, and parking lots, once even intruding through Olympia's en vogue Blackfront Art Gallery.

The performance caused quite the commotion with groups of downtowners literally running out of restaurants and businesses to catch a glimpse of the happening. With today's convenient technology, everyone was snaping pictures with their cellphones and digital cameras. A few photography students were even on the scene with actual 35mm. Traffic was held up on a few different occasions and the topper came when the performance persuaded a group of young street vagrants to join in line with the players.

As with all of my work, I didn't have any specific message to deliver with this performance. I was only working from an image in my head, which i made manifest into performance. However, this doesn't mean that the spectator can't form his or her own interpretations of it. One gentleman Mr. Richard DeRosa and his wife were among those who did such that. Mr. DeRosa was so intrequed by the images he saw that it moved him to email the John Robins, the Performing and Media Arts Manager at the Evergreen State College. John put me in contact with Mr. Derosa, who shared with me his wonderful interpretation of the performance as well as personal stories of his experiences in the business world. I am very grateful to Mr. DeRosa for sharing such things with me, for I think his act of listening and sharing part of himself spoke directly in opposition to part of what this performance maybe had to say. Here is his interpretation he wrote to me in an email:

"I don't really know much the genre, how it's written, and what type of
message is being attempted, but I was struck by a certain image that
came through.

It struck me as a statement about man's condition. I imagined a
scene, where men and women, on their way home from work, would stop at
corner store to pick up some milk, before hurrying home to their
As they would come across another acquaintance, portrayed by each of
mimes, they would have these little conversations, each one wanting to
the other his tale of woe, "let me tell you about MY wife, MY life, my
son....", but none of them really listening to the other's story,
each felt that their story was worth hearing...."let me tell you a
about MY life.......". Even the way they were "walking" through life
depicted in their constant motion through the streets of Olympia. They
weren't standing around in a circle talking to each other, but just
through life, trying to get someone to hear their story.

It's a rather sad and poignant tale, but one that's very easy to

Since this email, Mr. DeRosa and myself have exhanged a few emails where he has extrapolated in more detail about his thoughts about the theme of the performance and my initial thoughts that moved me to create this peice. It has been very helpful to me to talk about my work in such a forum.

Alos, there have been a number of people, including Mr. DeRosa, who refer to these characters as mimes (probably because of thier white faces). I haven't completely figured out these characters; in fact, that is part of the reason i am creating these performances for them, but i don't consider them mimes. I like to think of them more as mannequins: empty, plastic, but still attributing certain and exaggerated human features and characterstics. Mr. DeRosa agreed with this as a more fitting definition after I responded to his initial comment.

Some Stills:


Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Mikrofest VI

The audience piles in to a dimly lit basement. They come across a dingy complitation of objects, bodies, and sounds. Occupying one corner of the basement is a business man, face painted white, arm tangled in a ladder, which leans against his back at a 60 degree angle. He holds a pose and remains motionless. In front of him on the floor is a small boombox, which is playing a tape recording of 2 vocalists throat singing. To the side of him stands an empty children's school desk. Behind: a heap of cardboard with a pair of army boots jutting out from underneath. The audience stares on patiently for something to occur, some sort of action to take place. A minute or two passes, still nothing happens. The recording continues to play. The aduience is quiet, and really quite observant. A few people whisper to each other: "what do you think is going to happen?" "How long can he hold that pose?" 5 minutes pass, the performer's legs begin to tremble, he carefully shifts his weight in minute movents--tension is high. Just then a noise is heard from another dark corner of the basement. It is coming from the dryer. The door of the dryer flies open. a leg emerges. Then another. Slowly, the body of another business man births itself out of the machine. It begins to move in large, quick sporadic movements. It seems to be occupied with trying to pick up a briefcase that has been found on the floor. Both the business man and the briefcase commence across the basement towards the empty desk. On the way, bumping into everything and everyone in every direction. He finally makes it to the desk. In one sweeping motion he bends down towards the breifcase, hooks it with his numb hands, and hurls it atop the desk. Just as the briefcase collides with the desktop the business man with the ladder is startled awake into motion. In the same stiff and sporadic movents as the other performer, he wrestles with the six-foot aluminum ladder, trying to free his arm from its grasp. The audience watches on in awe and confusion, and also fear that this ladder may lose control and come flying out towards them. They shift their attention back towards the other performer, who by now has pryed the briefcase open and is hurling out from it large plumes of white printer paper. The other businessman has set up the ladder and begins his ascent. He struggles with this task, repeatedly bumbing into and falling off of the ladder. The white clouds of paper turn into plumes of of red. The man makes it to the top of the ladder and tries all his might to continue through the ceiling. The red paper plumes decease, the floor now littered with white and red printer paper, and the man with the briefcase brings his hand up from the case to reaveal a red viscous liquid coving his hands. He flings this about, startled by his discovery. A glob of this comes in contact with the man on the ladder, which sends him down the ladder to investigate. He pushes the other man aside and dips his hand into the briefcase pulling up the same red matter. He slaps this hand against the other man's face, leaving a streak of red across it. The man falls to the ground dead. The man from the ladder is left to himself, and begins to ingest the red substance. He chokes, traverses across stage, bumping into the ladder, and falling to the floor, where he convulses until he dies. Stillness sets in, the recording on the tape sets and eerie tone. Just then something begins to stir from under the mound of cardboard. Out from underneath emerges a homeless man, waking up to find this strange inncident on his front porch. He goes over to the bodies and checks their vitals with the heel of his boot. He quickly begins to scavange. he rumages through their pockets, for money, jewrely and smokes. He rolls one of the bodies over, removes its jacket and puts it on. He then looks straight out at the audience, walks right up in front and opens his mouth. He does this, and a current of yellow corn kernels pour from his mouth. He picks up the boombox and walks out of the basement. The End.

Here are some pictues taken by David Dec during the performance. It was very low lighting and only a few pictues came out visable. Performers: Ian Picco, Jamie Pittman, Michah. Photographer: David Dec

Setting the Stage

The Opening Pose

The Audience

Ascent up the Ladder

Blood on the Hands

Long Exposure: Homeless Man Rumages

Littered Floor

Here are some short 15 second video clips captured from David's digital camera. They don't show much, the lighting is dark, and Dave's hand goes all over the place. But you can catch glimpses of things, and at the very least you can hear samples of the vocal recording made by Michah and myself.

I will be posting the full audio recording in 2 parts sometime in the next few days.